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L.A. activists float idea of ‘freeway’ system for bikes


While Los Angeles city officials and hired consultants tinker with the draft of a mammoth bike plan, vocal critics in the cycling community complain it does not include enough new bike lanes and presents a mishmash of paths and routes that are unintelligible to the average cyclist.

But instead of merely nay-saying, one group of cycling advocates and bloggers known as the L.A. Bike Working Group is developing an alternative bike plan. They are starting with a network of long-distance bike routes they are comparing to a freeway system for cyclists.

Conceptual maps of the proposed Backbone Bikeway Network envision a network of long-distance routes designed to provide cyclists safe passage between different neighborhoods along heavily-traveled corridors, including Wilshire, Venice, Whittier and Sepulveda boulevards.

"The city really is more palatable when you have a straight shot through it, with less lights and less stop signs," said Mihai Peteu, 28, who helped design the map after holding public meetings with cyclists throughout the city. "I think cyclists deserve to have something similar to the freeway system."

It's just an idea, Peteu said. But given a little funding to paint bike lanes, improve the pavement and create shared bike-car lanes called sharrows, such a system could give cyclists a speedier way around town.

-- Tony Barboza

Graphic courtesy of L.A. Bike Working Group

Comments () | Archives (88)

forward thinking. I like it!

another example of why more people with money are leaving ca and being replaced by people with no money. good luck on your future ca and all those UN not under funded pensions that will have no taxes to pay with.

While we're at this, how about REAL bike lanes. Lanes that are NOT shared with cars. The idea that just because we have wheels we are "good" to be sharing a roadway with tons of sheet metal moving at 60MPH is unbelievable. Pedestrians have sidewalks, cars have roads. Bikers need their own path, completely separate from both. Nearly the only place this exists in urban areas is at the beach; we need real, functional bike roads that are not "sharrows" (how can this work unless someone hands a flyer explaining the premise to every new auto driver entering the sharrow lane? I live in Belmont Shore and know this does not work.) Thank you to the cycle enthusiasts pursuing this, and please, please consider taking this one step further with the city and hopefully someday, the state.

LA could learn from Minneapolis, where many miles of bike path wind through the city along old train routes, new light rail, and the river with few stops and intersections.

This would be great if this can happen, we need more attention in bringubg a bike friendly community to LA. this would solve some of the conjestion and pollution issue we had faced in the past. I'm not saying this will resolve all of the issues but its a start.

This is Exactly what this city needs. With our fair weather and a sprouting population of willing cyclists wanting to commute without cars, we should lace our communities with a network of safe avenues apart from or a part of existing thoroughfares. Keep in mind that most people are loathe to the idea of cycling in auto traffic because it is unsafe, unhealthy and unpleasant. Imagine tree lined paths with fast and slow lanes for cyclists only.

This is cost-effective, useful and community inspired. Just what we need right now! Props to the Angelenos who put time into this. Now let's make it a reality. I hope the City is paying attention.

One Less Car! Please please please. Make it happen. And for all those who are gonna say this is a waste of tax payer dollars etc, remember, this is getting rid of cars in front of you.

"The city really is more palatable when you have a straight shot through it, with less lights and less stop signs," said Mihai Peteu, 28, who helped design the map after holding public meetings with cyclists throughout the city. "I think cyclists deserve to have something similar to the freeway system."

Since most cyclists don't stop for red lights or stop signs, why do they care?

and are they willing to pay mandatory insurance and license fees to fund it?

I think this is a good idea. A sight that always stayed on my mind when I worked in Europe was the number of bicycles that people there used. It was enormous. Made sense too considering the price of oil.
Although the price of crude is currently dropping, it is going to rise even more again. So this makes a lot of sense. I think that every city must consider this strategy; it is just a matter of time before everyone will HAVE to do it.
Besides, it's very healthy.

I'd love to see a raised bike freeway above or next to the 10 (and other freeways, too) going from downtown to the beach. It'd have separate lanes from cars, with dedicated on and off ramps. Why not use some of those stimulus funds and build these raised bike freeways along the routes sugggested above as well. Raise the bikes above the rest of traffic and out of harm's way. Nice view too.

It's a pity that more people don't ride bikes here. We have perfect weather for it. In this city, smog is a big problem, as well as obesity. But anyone who has attempted to ride a bike on many of these streets can tell you how dangerous it is. People also need to drive around in the working day around here, so that also limits bikes as a commuting vehicle. Perhaps zipcars and the like could be used for those trips. Also bikes carried on public transportation helps. It is true that stop lights add lots of time to a bike commute, and it is more work starting up than keeping rolling. It should also be mentioned that the riverbeds are already "bike freeways," and more effort should be made integrating our watershed back into the urban landscape as natural streams with bike & jogging paths.

This is a tremendous idea, but it can't stop in LA, it needs to be instituted across the country. This idea needs to receive more attention, continue the discussion on Holosfitness.com. Holosfitness.com is a social networking website focused on fitness and healthy lifestyles. The type of news in this article needs more attention, as we, as a nation, need to put more of an emphasis on healthy, active lifestyles.

The Federally-funded and built highway system spurred the car economy back in the 1950's. When gas was cheap and global warming was not a concern.

This bike "freeway" system could spark an economic boom for Los Angeles and spread throughout the country. In Wisconsin, a state that does not have 360 days of sunshine, their bike-friendly infrastructure has brought $1.5 billion to the state in bicycle-related jobs and revenue.

Los Angeles has near perfect weather for the bicycle. It is ludicrous that some city government officials are still living in the 1950's. We need clean air, we need to reduce our health care costs, we need to spur our faltering economy. The bicycle can do all that and more.

Get out of the car! Get a bike. It will bring jobs and money to our cash-strapped city.

Oh c'mon guys, that was a real teaser. We bicyclists need a REAL freeway, actually the existing freeway system will do fine: just dedicate an existing car lane to bicycles, skateboards, scooters and we'll be really happy. And the freeway car traffic may begin to thin out considerably. Coordinate the implementation of bicycle dedicated physically separated freeway lanes with the increasingly stricter vehicle emissions standards, so we don't suffocate to death.

I am serious! Enough of this incrementalism. We need deep and radical changes quickly!

And for gods' sake, stop the ridiculous widening of the 405! If we can't stop it, switch its use to a bicycle lane!

Nonetheless, I am most appreciative of the efforts the bicycle advocates are putting into this.

Lois Arkin

This would be amazing!

Yes Yes Yes !!!!

Please make this happen. The sooner the better. Thanks to the cycling advocates that are working so tirelessly on advancing these issues to make the city a better place and our roadways safer for all road users.

Awesome! Do it!

I don't even own a bike, but this should be just as important a priority as the subway.

Do it!

Love love love this proposed plan!

For starters why not have a dedicated lane on the freeway for motorcyclists?

If the city would just keep the streets well paved, that would solve a huge part of the problem. I'm always weaving all over the place to avoid potholes, which are even worse after the big rains the other week.

I'm not a bike rider. And if this plan is implemented, who would be paying for it? The taxpayer? For how many cyclists? If this happens, those who use the system should pay for the system.

I think Los Angeles is a city where this could actually work. Unfortunately, this map doesn't include the South Bay. If our storm channels' access paths could be adapted for safe and secure cycling, they would be a great resource too.

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